Everett roaster creates some of the best coffee in Northwest

Knock on the bright blue door at Velton’s Coffee and get ready to walk into an aromatic garden of delights.

It’s here in the basement of the non-descript brick building in Everett’s Lowell neighborhood that Velton Ross, owner of Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company, roasts award-winning coffee. There’s not a lot of ventilation, so the heat mixes with the aroma of dozens of bags of coffee laid on pallets and fresh from far-flung locales like Guatemala, Indonesia and beyond. It’s nearly a palpable experience.

Then he pours you a cup. From Kenya, it’s a lighter roast, and bright tastes of fruits mixed with a sweet-savory finish tickle your tongue. It’s amazing.

Velton Ross, who opened Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company in 2007, and his employee, Mike Cannon, spend more than 70 hours a week in the dimly lit basement, roasting close to 200 pounds of the best beans roasted in the Northwest.

The word is getting out. Besides Washington, Velton’s Coffee distributes to coffee shops in Las Vegas, Montana and California. Earlier this year, Cole McBride of PublicUS coffee bar in Las Vegas, used Velton’s coffee to take home second place in the United States Barista Championship.

It starts with sampling beans from importers. Once Ross finds something he likes, he asks for samples, roasts them and then samples the finished product. If he and Cannon like it, he’ll order more, roast it in small batches in his Diedrich IR-12 roaster and sell it.

When Ross, who’s been involved in the coffee industry for 25 years, first thought of opening his own coffee roaster, he thought he’d open it in coffee-crazy Seattle. But rent was too high, and he settled on his current location in Everett. Now he and his wife, Melanie Hendrickson Ross, and their adopted daughter, Esme, live in Everett, having moved here from Seattle two years ago.

“Everett has come along slowly,” Ross said of the coffee culture. “Seeing things like what Bookend is doing — single origin, lighter roasts, great equipment — that’s encouraging. You can see the developments downtown and see how the city’s coffee culture could change as a whole.”

Ross loves working with local businesses like Everett’s Justice Brewing. He collaborated with Justice owner and head brewer Nate McLaughlin to make Experience Everett, an imperial stout brewed with Velton’s Coffee. McLaughlin said that a fresh batch of Experience Everett will be available later this week at the brewery (2414 Chestnut St, Everett), which is open noon to 2 p.m.

Ross said he’d love to open a roastery with a front-end retail cafe or tasting room, but that right now financially it’s not feasible. In the future, maybe. For the sake of good coffee in Everett, let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Aaron Swaney: 425-339-3430; aswaney@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @swaney_aaron79. Follow the Hops and Sips blog at www.heraldnet.com/hopsandsips.

Tasting notes

Notes from Velton Ross, owner and head roaster of Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company, on Velton’s current lineup:

  • Twilight Blend: If you like dark roasts this one’s for you. It’s a three-bean blend that can change. On a recent visit, it was Colombia, Guatemala and Brazil. Smooth, full-bodied with spice, dark chocolate and hints of cherry.
  • Treehouse Blend: Makes a very approachable cup of coffee. Not too roasty or dark. For fans of medium-body coffee.
  • Bonsai Blend: Specifically done for espresso. Produces a thick, smooth shot with notes of milk chocolate, caramel, hazelnut and citrus.
  • Single-origin coffees: What we have is always changing. If you like brighter, fruitier coffee, look for African or Central American coffees. If you want deeper body and earthier, look for Indonesian coffees. If you want something comfortable than look at South American coffees. If you like really fruity coffee the Mexico Nayarita is perfect.

Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company

206-250-6130, www.veltonscoffee.com

Find it: Everett’s Bookend Coffee Company and The Filmore, a coffeehouse and entertainment venue in Mill Creek, both serve Velton’s. It also retails at Everett’s Sno-Isle Food Co-op and Seattle Coffee Gear at the Alderwood Mall.

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